Monday, July 26, 2004

A few days ago Ed Gorman gave an all-out no-reservations rave review to James Siegel's Derailed.  Naturally I figured I should read it, so I went directly to my local bookseller (Wal-Mart) and bought a copy.

I can see why Ed liked the book.  It's a juiced-up version of a Gold Medal original: ordinary guy gets into deep doo-doo.  He does everything wrong, and things keep piling up until it seems they just can't get any worse.  And then they get worse.  It's the sort of thing Harry Whittington excelled at, except hyped to the tenth power.

So I sort of enjoyed it, but I had some problems.  One is that if you've ever read more than a couple of Gold Medal books, the "big surprise" is going to come as no surprise at all.  Maybe that's OK.  Maybe Siegel doesn't really expect us to be surprised.  But another problem is that Siegel uses a deus ex machina that would make Euripides blush.  It's just too much.  Or maybe I'm just being picky.  You'll have to read the book and decide for yourself.

Ed said he thinks the book might well become a classic.  I don't.  To me it's just another disposable best seller.  Well executed, but not that memorable.

1 comment:

Vince said...

I'm with you about DERAILED. I bought into the hype and read it when it came out. Every twist was telegraphed, and the deux ex machina was such a howler that I found it hard to finish the book. Great premise, though.